Tom Egan and Happy Daze - sailboat ….. 8/10 year of Plague

I spent a significant part of my life, some of the best days of my life, with Tom Egan on Happy Daze. Happy Daze is/was a sailboat raced on the Long Island Sound.

There was a time, not too long ago, when hundreds of sailboats would race on the Long Island Sound. Near Manhattan the Sound starts just past LaGuardia. Large ships and tugs with barges use the Sound as a protected waterway going part of the way to Boston. Then going away from NYC next comes City Island where 100 years ago Vanderbilt had his 140 foot J Class racers built. City Island used to have 4 yacht clubs. And then comes Port Washington which used to have 4 yacht clubs. And Larchmont, then Greenwich and then Oyster Bay. Continuing out East on the Sound you had large clubs in Stamford, then New Haven. Harbor after harbor. 100 miles to the Hamptons with sailing clubs in every inlet. The Sound with the rich Westchester suburbs then Connecticut on one side and Long Island on the other. Every club had serious racers.

NYC Wall Street types would network by joining a country club and play golf. And a yacht club might follow. And a good percentage of them, being A types, would race on the Sound.

Tom and his family had a mid-Manhattan Sysco like food business. His son, like mine, started sailing at age 6. At Christmas Tommy got his own Optomist, a child's sailboat about the size of a bathtub. Small enough to be next to the Christmas tree with its mast up. What a present for a 6 year old to wake up to. Son Tommy starred in the 100 child summer program. They would race these small boats for a half a day every day over the summer. When the kids got a bit bigger they would switch to a bigger two or three kid olympic racing dingy. And Tom Jr. won all the time. The older kids in the 4 clubs in our harbor would race against each other and for a week each summer kids from nearby clubs would be towed or driven over to Larchmont for race week. Getting into his teens Tommy won at Larchmont. Probably got a Rolex – perhaps.

When I joined Tom's crew his son and dingy crew mates were the better part of the crew. As Tommy got older he did more. He was like an orchestra leader conducting the crew. Tom Senior did the main sail Andreas did the mast. And John did the jib. I did the spinnaker guy and Carla did the spinnaker sheet. And we won all the time.

Tom would sign-up for 25 weekends of races each summer. In April the Spring Series for both days on two weekends then 25 weekends later some Fall Series. A crew of 7 or 8 might be on Happy Daze for 50 days each summer.

In the spring and fall the breezes were big. Wild rides with Happy Daze on the edge of broaching – being knocked over by the wind with the mast in the water. We were always on the edge.

Happy Daze won all the time and sailboat racing on the Long Island Sound near New York City was very competitive. In the “good old days”. The races are sponsored by clubs. After each day of racing in a series, trophies would be awarded. And we would hang out at the sponsoring club toasting each trophy. Dinners and toasting. Spouses and lovers were welcome. Thank you Tom.

No longer owned by Tom, she is a Person 10M, 10 meters long handicap racing sailboat. Racing on Happy Daze was....